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Ruth 1:7-9: Naomi's Dismissal of Her Daughters-in-Law, Part 1

Verse 7:[1] Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters in law with her; and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah.

Verse 8:[2] And Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, (see Josh. 24:15) Go, return each to her mother’s house: (2 Tim. 1:16-18) the LORD deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with (Ruth 1:5; 2:20) the dead, and with me.

[Go unto the house of your mother] Thus she speaks, either, because they were without a father (Menochius, Piscator); or, because daughters converse more frequently and sweetly with their mothers (Menochius); or, because women were dwelling apart from men in their own apartments, daughters with their mothers and sisters (Menochius, Bonfrerius). The desire for the mother is wont to be greater than for the father; and in this daughters temper themselves less than do sons (Drusius).

Each to her mother’s house; not that they wanted fathers, Ruth 2:11, but because daughters used to converse more frequently with their mothers, and to be most endeared to them, and to dwell in the same apartments with them, which then were distinct from those parts of the house where the men dwelt.

[The Lord deal mercifully with you, עִמָּכֶם֙ חֶ֔סֶד] With you, or towards you, benignity (Drusius, Junius and Tremellius), or beneficence (Piscator). In the relative, there is a difference of gender from the antecedent;[3] by which enallage they think their manly and virtuous spirit to be denoted (Glassius’ “Grammar” 204).

[As ye have dealt with the dead] An improper expression, but easy to understand; that is, with your husbands, who now are dead (Grotius, thus all interpreters). That is to say, Those, while they lived, ye cherished, etc., and now, being dead, ye have decently buried, mourned, and preserved in memory, and for their sake ye have continued widows hitherto with me (Lapide).

With the dead; with my sons, your husbands, whilst they lived.

[And with me] The duty that one bestows upon his mother-in-law is called piety;[4] which is virtue towards one’s parents, and those that stand in the place of parents (Drusius).

Verse 9:[5] The LORD grant you that ye may find (Ruth 3:1) rest, each of you in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept.

[The Lord grant to you to find rest, etc.] A tranquil and blessed life (Piscator). A peaceful marriage (Drusius), and free from annoyances, quarrels, etc., which are wont to attend marriage, 1 Corinthians 7:28. Wives also have rest, with their husbands taking care of domestic matters, destitute of which help, widows are agitated with great waves of cares and troubles (Menochius). She desires other marriages for them, even better ones than the former (Drusius).

Rest, that is, a quiet and happy life, free from those cares, vexations, encumbrances, and troubles which widows are in a special manner exposed unto.

[She kissed them] This was the custom of the ancients, when they were taking leave one of another (Drusius). It was the custom of those nations; thus also of the Medes, as Xenophon[6] testifies[7] (Piscator).

She kissed them, as the manner there was when friends parted.

[1] Hebrew: וַתֵּצֵ֗א מִן־הַמָּקוֹם֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר הָיְתָה־שָׁ֔מָּה וּשְׁתֵּ֥י כַלֹּתֶ֖יהָ עִמָּ֑הּ וַתֵּלַ֣כְנָה בַדֶּ֔רֶךְ לָשׁ֖וּב אֶל־אֶ֥רֶץ יְהוּדָֽה׃

[2] Hebrew: וַתֹּ֤אמֶר נָעֳמִי֙ לִשְׁתֵּ֣י כַלֹּתֶ֔יהָ לֵ֣כְנָה שֹּׁ֔בְנָה אִשָּׁ֖ה לְבֵ֣ית אִמָּ֑הּ יַ֣עֲשֶׂה יְהוָ֤ה עִמָּכֶם֙ חֶ֔סֶד כַּאֲשֶׁ֧ר עֲשִׂיתֶ֛ם עִם־הַמֵּתִ֖ים וְעִמָּדִֽי׃

[3] כֶם- is a second person, masculine plural suffix.

[4] Compare 1 Timothy 5:4.

[5] Hebrew: יִתֵּ֤ן יְהוָה֙ לָכֶ֔ם וּמְצֶ֣אןָ מְנוּחָ֔ה אִשָּׁ֖ה בֵּ֣ית אִישָׁ֑הּ וַתִּשַּׁ֣ק לָהֶ֔ן וַתִּשֶּׂ֥אנָה קוֹלָ֖ן וַתִּבְכֶּֽינָה׃

[6] Xenophon (c. 427-355 BC) was a mercenary soldier, who traveled extensively in the East. He was also an acquaintance and admirer of Socrates.

[7] Cyropædia 1; 5.

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